What’s on the Horizon for Family Safety Apps? Driver Safety


What’s on the Horizon for Family Safety Apps? Driver Safety

November 17, 2020

The total addressable market for handset-based family safety solutions continues to grow as more and more consumers integrate mobile apps into their daily routines. The ubiquity of smartphones and a growing emphasis on digital wellbeing and safety will drive increased demand for apps that simplify digital parenting with functionality such as screen time limits, real-time location services, and age-based content restrictions.

Expanding Demand for Family Safety Features

Demand for family safety features extends beyond parental controls and location tracking however. Parents of teens and young adults in their early twenties are also very concerned with another topic that is central to family safety – driver safety. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 16- to 24-year-olds. PennDOT cites several key contributors to crashes involving teen drivers, including driver inexperience, driver distractions, driving too fast for conditions, and improper or careless turning.

Smartphones and Distracted Driving

We love them and they’ve become a focal point of our daily routines, but there’s no way around it: smartphones are a leading cause of distracted driving.

Let’s step back and visualize a familiar scenario we can all relate to: Everyone remembers how liberating and exhilarating being a young driver can be… You’re away from your parents with your friends in the car, smartphone in hand, blasting your favorite music. Perhaps you’re even texting another friend while driving to let them know why you’re running late. You’re young, invincible, and really good at multi-tasking. What could go wrong? Turns out a lot.

Here are some sobering takeaways from a 2020 brief published by the World Health Organization:

  • Evidence shows that the distraction caused by mobile phones can impair driving performance in a number of ways, e.g. longer reaction times, impaired ability to keep in the correct lane, and shorter following distances.
  • Text messaging also results in considerably reduced driving performance, with young drivers at particular risk of the effects of distraction.
  • Studies suggest that drivers using a mobile phone are approximately four times more likely to be involved in a crash than when the driver does not use a phone.
  • There is no conclusive evidence (yet) that hands-free phoning is any safer than hand-held phoning, because of the cognitive distraction involved with both activities.

How Smartphones can Boost Driver Safety

While smartphones are now a leading cause of distracted driving, they can also be a force of good in the battle to protect young people behind the wheel. Here’s why:

  • Young people take their smartphones with them wherever they go.
  • Smartphones are equipped with a multitude of sensors that collect data that can be used to flag dangerous driving behavior such as phone use, speeding, hard turns, and aggressive acceleration.
  • Smartphones can also be used to detect collisions and send automatic notifications should a collision occur.

Incorporating these capabilities into existing family safety apps will enable wireless carriers to differentiate their digital lifestyle offerings in an increasingly crowded marketplace while extending the relevance of these services to families with older children. Furthermore, premium functionality such as automatic collision notifications, personalized driving scores, and in-app gamification further justify monthly subscription fees and set carrier-provided family safety apps apart from freemium options.

Bringing Driver Safety Functionality to Market

To help its carrier customers capitalize on the sizable driver safety opportunity, Smith Micro enhanced its proven SafePath® Family offering with SafePath® Drive. This add-on module enables wireless carriers to extend their family safety offerings into the lucrative realm of driver safety. Like other flavors of SafePath, SafePath Drive is a white-label solution that can be customized and branded to meet specific carrier specifications.

For more information on SafePath Drive or to request a demo, visit www.smithmicro.com/safepath/family/#drive.